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ALS Awareness Month

May 5, 2016

I won’t ask you to pour a bucket of ice over your head. Have at it, if you are interested. It is, after all, ALS Awareness Month.

In honor of this official month, I’m posting this blog I wrote in honor of the beautiful heart and soul that was Tami Kidd.

Tami was a kick ass, fun loving, loyal, dependable, thoughtful, silly, profound friend who I never knew as well or as long as I would have liked.

Here’s a post a wrote in March during my altMBA program:

I wheeled her into the shower while she joked to make me feel comfortable. I had never bathed a grown woman before. She needed me to. We both felt slightly ashamed, but it was part of her life by then. At least I wasn’t a stranger. We were having a girls weekend at her home in Atlanta, and she was gone from our planet 10 days later. It was not a surprise, yet was still dreadfully painful.

ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, cruelly tore the life from my
frienTami_kiddd Tami Kidd and separated her from her family, two beautiful children, and her many friends and supporters. Up until the very end, the horrid disease never captured her heart or her spirit. She transcended the levels of kindness and generosity i had previously known.

Just before my wedding and about 3 months before she passed, Tami texted me with:

“Hey girl. Just a quick thinking about you email! sending the positive sane vibes to ya! Keep me updated. Did the mom like the dress any better in person????? lol. Lumi”

Lumi = love you, mean it. It was her thing, her sign off, her sweetness. She was getting a kick out of my future mother-in-law’s dislike of my simple wedding dress. Oh, I could go on about Tami! Instead, read my homage, A Kidd I Used to Know, and even click through to her blog. (She would have loved that I am doing the altMBA; probably would have signed up right along with me.)

The Disease

The thing about ALS is that it’s always fatal. But wait? What about Steven Hawking? He likely has a rare strain of the disease. For most people, the progressive muscle weakness from the neurodegenerative disease leads to the loss of all voluntary movement bit by bit, then difficulty breathing, and ultimately, death. Essentially, your body stops functioning but your mind is completely alert and you are aware of every painstaking loss. On average, the process takes two to three years — prolonged agony, watching yourself deteriorate.

Tami has been gone almost 9 years. She’s never too far from my conscious mind. I get birthday alarms for her kids, and I get my regular letters from the ALS Association asking for my financial donation, which I send to the Georgia Chapter one or two times per year.

The Cause

Aside from Hawking fans, most people had not likely heard about ALS Disease until the brilliant Ice Bucket Challenge of the summer of 2014. As The NY Times reported, the campaign “lit social media on fire.”

If you were living in some countries outside the US (or in a cave inside in the US), the ice bucket challenge become a social media movement like we’ve never seen before. It started as a general cause, but an ALS sufferer and activist made it his own, tied it to the ALS movement and it skyrocketed.

More than one million people made a video of themselves challenging other friends and then getting a bucket of ice water dumped over their heads. They shared it via social media and (hopefully) donated $100 to the cause.

The ALS Association reported raising nearly $115 million, a 3,504% increase over donations during the same period the previous year, according to RJ Metrics, a business intelligence software company. Actors, pop stars, performers of all types, CEOs, moguls and more completed the challenge. Even President Obama talked about, although he did not do it.

The Rub

Unfortunately, as Seth Godin noted in a 2014 blog post: “more than 90% of the people mentioning it (posting themselves being doused or passing on the word) didn’t make a donation to support actual research on an actual disease.”

RJ Metrics reported “a whopping 26% of participants didn’t even mention ALS in their videos. And a paltry 20% of participants mentioned donating money.” (Descriptive adjectives their own.)

For a more positive frame from RJ Metrics: “Participants who mentioned ALS were 5x more likely to donate, doing so 25% of the time vs. just 5% for those who didn’t mention the cause.”

If you are looking for a worthwhile cause to support, please consider donating to ALS research.


Blood, Sweat and Tears

May 4, 2016

When you want to lose weight, who needs pesky exercise? That’s the message that came through loud and clear when I heard a radio commercial recently for Purathin. “No EXHAUSTIVE exercise necessary,” said the announcer. The stress on exhaustive is from the ad, not me. And no, this is not an endorsement.

Doing the work is the hard part. And the hard part is what creates progress.

“Learning is taking action and seeing what happens.”

Even those people who may be perceived as being an overnight success, probably aren’t. OK, so maybe there are some crazy stories, but it’s not the norm.

It can be unreasonably frustrating for those of us doing the work and not getting noticed or making the millions you think you ‘deserve’ to make. So the next question should be: What are you doing that’s remarkable?

Forming a habit

May 3, 2016

UPDATED May 3: I broke my own rule to Do, Not Try. And so I’ve updated this post title from: Trying to form a habit to what you see now: Forming a Habit. I’m not trying it. I’m doing it. I may falter along the way. 

If I can feel focus in my head, when I’m at rest, can I then create focus in my life?

I’ve managed the daily blogging. Daily meditating has been more of a challenge.

I’ve long been a fan from afar of meditation. Many smart and driven people I know and respect are habitual meditators.

My excuses? I’ve tried it and can’t do it. I don’t have time. My brain won’t stop. I fall asleep. I can’t…. I don’t want to do it today….

Even now, 80% in to a 20-day habit with the Headspace app, I struggle. My excuses remain.

Only now, I’m pushing through my excuses. I keep watching videos like this one. I am more deeply motivated by the promises of focus, calm and clarity.

Have I not convinced you of the value of meditation? Perhaps Andy Puddicombe can. I like him because he tells me its OK if I fall asleep while I do it.


30 days and counting

May 2, 2016

During my March altMBA program, I committed to 30 days of blogging daily. The goals included creating a new habit. Do something I enjoy every day. Flex my creative muscles and get some personal creativity back in my life.

I have accomplished all of those aims. I’ve blogged daily. A few times more than once. I have a long list of new ideas. Sometimes I’ll cram it all into one day and write 4 posts at a time. Right now, I’m on number 3 for tonight.

I’m committing to another 30 days. Let’s do this. (And yes, this counts as one.)



How am I not myself?

May 1, 2016

“Everything is connected and everything matters. Now isn’t that cool!”

“Human drama is inevitable.”

“You can’t deal with my infinite nature, can you?”

“Everything is the same, even if it’s different.” “Exactly, because we are connected.”

Life imitates art. Or is it the other way around? Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

Always one to appreciate and inject humor in my life when I am able, I think of ‘how am i not myself’ when I start getting into some deep thinking. I’ve been doing a lot of that lately, since my altMBA experience, and it’s all valuable.

I haven’t hired existential detectives yet. If I did, Lily Tomlin and Dustin Hoffman would be the first ones I’d call. And if you haven’t seen I Heart Huckabees, run to find it. It’s pure brilliance.


Chasing the giggle

April 30, 2016

lipstick mouth

I remember his first giggle fest. I mean the first time he had a real giggle fit. It was awesome.

Nowadays, we laugh together.

He gets the joke. He makes the joke. Often. Sometimes, they’re not funny. Other times, he slays.

But so far, and it’s been pretty steady since I heard the very first one, I’m always chasing the giggle. When he chuckles a little or gives me a full belly crack up, it lights me up. I want more, more, more. It truly is the happiest sound in the whole wide world. Even when he looks like a scary clown in my lipstick.

Encouraging Persistance

April 29, 2016

“Read me a book now, please” “We don’t have time now, we have to get you to school.” “please, please, read me a book….whine.whine, whine…..” “No, we can’t do it now. We can read the book later.” “Well then I never want to read another book again ever.”

He’ll maintain a no-book policy for a few days.

How do you encourage stick-to-it-iveness in a young person, a small child, a 4 1/2 year old? If a child at this young age gives up because he doesn’t win, isn’t good at it, doesn’t like your rules, is it a sign for the lack of perseverence he might exhibit as he grows? Or is he just acting 4 1/2?

I found a few articles about this, but most seem focused on kids wanting to quit hobbies, lessons, etc. That’s not applicable here.

I’m interested in the scenarios where we are playing a game. I score a point. He gets pissed. Game ends abruptly. “We aren’t quitters,” I lament in situations like this, with the books above and so many others. It does me no good.

Articles addressing topics like raising a determined child, don’t seem to address scenarios like I encounter. I certainly could be overthinking it, but there is a definite trend here. I won’t worry yet, but I will definitely be keeping my eyes and ears open and looking for better ways to counteract it in a positive way.


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